When you hear the words Texas Ranger, what do you think of? Chuck Norris in Walker, Texas Ranger or maybe strains of the William Tell Overture play in your mind as the masked Lone Ranger sits abreast a rearing white stallion and yells, "Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!"
But Chisholm Hart is a far cry from either Norris or the Lone Ranger. He does, however, have a trusty steed named Bullet and a strong desire to protect and defend the citizens of Texas.
Chisholm has agreed to join us today to be interviewed about his life as a Texas Ranger.
Chisholm, what made you interested in becoming a Texas Ranger?
One year, my older brothers all went on a cattle drive but I was left home to keep an eye on the ranch. A Texas Ranger came by, looking for murderer. I used the tracking skills I'd learned from an Indian friend to find the man and helped the Ranger bring him in. The Ranger encouraged me to become a Ranger. He said that Texas needed men like me.
Is that the only reason you joined?
No, that's just what introduced me to the Texas Rangers. Being second to the youngest, I was too young to fight in the war, so I think I've always needed to prove myself. I also saw the need for law and order first hand. Texas is awash in outlaws right now. Our state needs men of honor and duty if it's going to survive.
What can you tell us about how the Texas Rangers came to be?
The original Texas Rangers began in 1823, when Stephen Austin decided to employ 10 men to defend the Texas colonies. These men didn't have badges or six shooters or Stetsons. They were farmers who came together when there was a threat to early Texans. Captain "Rip" Ford said, "They did right because it was right." I live by that motto, too.
But when did the Texas Ranger corp begin?
In 1835, the Texas government passed a resolution creating a corp of over 50 rangers. By '58, we were a hundred strong, and today we've got about 300 Texas Rangers in six frontier battalions. Did you hear what the editor of Texas Siftings said about us two years ago, in 1872? He said, "The Rangers have done more to suppress lawlessness, to capture criminals, and to prevent Mexican and Indian raids on the frontier, than any other agency on the frontier." And you know what? The man is right.
I can tell you're proud to serve as a Ranger. Who would you say is the most famous Texas Ranger?
Are you trying to get me in trouble? I couldn't pick just one. The Rangers have one legendary man after another. I can tell you about is a Ranger from the early days. John Coffee "Jack" Hays came to San Antonio in 1837. Three years later, he'd already been named Ranger captain. He built his reputation on fighting marauding Indians and Mexican bandits. He led the Rangers in the Plumb Creek war. I think every Texas Ranger wants to be like Jack Hays. I'm honored to say that my little brother is named after the man.
What qualities do you think a good Ranger should have?
Well, they need a little of everything--trustworthiness, honor, a strong moral code. Besides being a a praying man, tenacity is probably the most important thing to have and a good sense of humor. And it sure doesn't hurt to be a good shot, either.
What's the hardest part of being a Texas Ranger?
That's an easy one. The hardest part is being away from the people I love. I keep reminding myself that Texas needs me.
One more question. You obviously love being a Texas Ranger. Could you give it up for the love of a woman?
Sorry, I can't answer that here. You'll have to read the story and find out.
So, do you have any questions for Chisholm Hart? Is so, he's sticking around today to answer them. What do you think would be the hardest part of being a law enforcement officer back then? What about today? What can we do as citizens to better support law enforcement officers?
I'll be giving away a copy of Shannon Vannatter's Rodeo Queen to one lucky commenter today. Shannon is my crit partner, and I know you'll love her modern day Texas Ranger almost as much as Chisholm.
Lorna Seilstad brings history back to life using a generous dash of humor. She is the author of the Lake Manawa Summers Series and the Gregory Sisters Series and is a Carol historical romance finalist. She and her husband are almost empty-nesters and call Iowa home.
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